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Managing Content in a Multichannel World: It’s Time to Give a Dam

How do you manage the production of digital assets in life sciences, given the proliferation of communication channels, the number of different digital devices, and customer demands for relevant information tailored to their needs?

It’s a question we at Veeva are asked to consider on a regular basis. So, at eyeforpharma, we decided to pose that same question to those who experience first-hand the challenges of content production in today’s multichannel environment.

Judging by the number of people who attended our “Making Content Work for Your Multichannel Strategy” workshop, it was clearly a hot topic. Thirty-seven life sciences professionals representing companies from all over Europe joined us for a lively session, in which we explored some of key issues around producing and managing content in the digital age.

Here are some of the main discussion points:

1. The effectiveness and productivity challenge
The workshop groups discussed the fact that with so many stakeholders involved in content production, companies need to track effectiveness across the entire production process. They need to really hone in a specific challenge, such as having a high proportion of materials approved but not used, or content that has become redundant at some point during production still moving through the review and approval process. The groups acknowledged that an end-to-end content management platform was the solution, as it provides the ability to identify and act on bottlenecks, identify waste and – critically – avoid time and cost spent on materials that are no longer required.

2. The usability and sustainability challenge
One of the problems raised in the workshop was the ability to ensure that content was commissioned based on identified requirements. Companies need to rapidly identify whether they can modify an existing asset, or if something suitable does not exist, quickly decide what is required. Personalization was raised as another issue: does the content itself have the ability to support different customer groups, rather than creating 15 different versions? It is better to produce one version that can cope with 15 different target segmentations. Usability testing was also brought up: making sure that there is not only a need for a piece of content, but that it is also consumable. This led to the idea of librarianship and curation: content does not stand still – it needs to be looked after and maintained, and that has not historically been a natural function in life sciences. Some attendees said that in the past content creation tended to be a case of developing and delivering one campaign, then starting from scratch with the next. The groups acknowledged that content must be designed so that it can evolve – and the processes around content creation and management need to take this into account.

3. The ‘content factory’ challenge
Workshop groups discussed the concept of the ‘content factory’ or ‘digital factory.’ Many companies now have regional or global production facilities to reduce the cost of producing content by generating economies of scale and encouraging reusability. Groups acknowledged that the flip side of this model is that it makes it harder for local markets to differentiate their messaging. However, the general consensus among the discussion groups was that companies need to manage cost to market, and everyone simply did what they wanted without any reference back to existing materials or rationale for spending on new materials. Quickly costs will spiral out of control. The general consensus was that a content factory is the best way forward to effectively manage costs.

4. The measurement challenge
Workshop groups discussed the challenge of measuring from content production to consumption. The groups noted that within most life sciences organizations the means of measurement exist, but they exist in siloes: the group that manages content production isn’t the group involved in the measurement side. There needs to be better cross-organization coordination. Currently, many companies are struggling to design effective, usable metrics and measurement approaches to help make effective business decisions. The workshop groups recognized that they need to take advantage of the capabilities that they already have and break down the departmental siloes. Because the content production process is complicated and spans multiple parts of the organization, measurement should be approached from a company-wide perspective, with shared capabilities and shared objectives across the business.

In summary
In today’s multichannel environment, managing content is no easy task for life sciences. The number of devices is increasing, as is the demand for specific information – and companies are looking to increase effectiveness of customer engagement by tailoring content at a more granular level. The result is a lot of content that has to be produced and maintained – and that requires a new approach. Digital factories, supported by integrated digital asset management (DAM), can streamline content production and stop costs spiraling out of control. In short, if you’re not yet worrying about content management in a multichannel world, it’s time to give a DAM.

Download our white paper on Managing Content Across the Digital Supply Chain to find out more.